DMARC Honors the Life of Forrest Harms

Rev. Forrest Harms, former Executive Director of the Des Moines Area Religious Council, passed away on November 5 at the age of 79. Harms served as Executive Director of DMARC for 17 years, from January 1990 to July 2007. Rev. Harms was dedicated to the interfaith mission of DMARC, and worked to create opportunities for interfaith learning through the January Thaw adult education series and interfaith panels, forums, and worship services. In 1992, he created the DMARC Interfaith Service Awards Luncheon to honor congregations and organizations who demonstrated a shared ...

Read More


DMARC Launches Mobile Food Pantry at CareMore Health with $10,000 Donation from Amerigroup Foundation

The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) is launching a mobile food pantry with a recent $10,000 Amerigroup Foundation donation at CareMore Health’s Des Moines Care Center, 1530 East Euclid Avenue in Des Moines. DMARC’s mobile food pantry will be on-location at CareMore from 2:00-4:00pm on Wednesday, October 27, and will be there every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month following. Visitors to the mobile food pantry can select from a variety of healthy foods available. Once per calendar month, visitors can receive a 3-day supply of food based on family size, ...

Read More


Help “Scare Away Hunger!” with DMARC this Halloween


Volunteer Spotlight: Sarah Engbretson

This month we're shining a spotlight on DMARC volunteer Sarah Engbretson, who serves on multiple DMARC committees and helps engage young professionals in fighting hunger. Thank you for all you do for DMARC, Sarah! Why do you volunteer with DMARC? I love how DMARC serves the community. Not only do they provide healthy and culturally appropriate options at the pantries in their network, their mission is to provide assistance in a dignified and respectful way. DMARC encounters people in their most vulnerable state and knowing that they meet every person who enters one of ...

Read More


DMARC Applauds Historic Increase to SNAP Benefits

The Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) applauds the recent announcement by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the re-evaluation of the Thrifty Food Plan, used to calculate benefit amounts for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known in Iowa as Food Assistance. As a result, effective October 1, the average SNAP benefit will increase by 27%, or $36.24 more per person, per month. A temporary 15% increase to SNAP benefits that was included in the 2021 American Rescue Plan is set to expire on September 30. “For the 285,000 ...

Read More


DMARC Launches New Mobile Food Pantry Site at Merle Hay Mall

DMARC is launching a new mobile food pantry site at Merle Hay Mall, starting Tuesday, August 3. The mobile food pantry will be on-location at the Merle Hay Applebee’s south parking lot every Tuesday evening from 4:00-6:00pm in conjunction with Applebee’s “Together We Care Tuesdays.” This new mobile food pantry site is the result of a collaboration between DMARC, the City of Des Moines, Merle Hay Mall, Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART), and Merle Hay Road Applebee’s. “DMARC is grateful for the collaborative effort between numerous partners ...

Read More


UNITS of Central Iowa Challenges Cubs Fans to Fill Storage UNIT with Cereal for DMARC

UNITS of Central Iowa is celebrating their grand opening by hosting a food and fund drive for the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) Food Pantry Network at the Iowa Cubs game on Saturday, July 10. Fans are challenged to fill a storage UNIT that will be on-site with cereal for the DMARC Food Pantry Network. With each donation of cereal or cash contribution, participants will be entered to win a $500 travel voucher courtesy of The Travel Center, LTD. DMARC is encouraging donations of whole grain, low sugar cereal. “Local baseball fans are excited we can ...

Read More


Celebrating Our Differences

At DMARC, we have a mission of working together to meet basic human needs for the greater Des Moines community - and that includes everyone. As we celebrate Pride this month, we celebrate our LGBTQ+ community and recognize the unique hardships faced by the queer community in meeting basic human needs. According to the Trevor Project’s National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health 2021: 30% of all LGBTQ+ youth experienced food insecurity in the past month, including half of all Native/Indigenous LGBTQ+ youth. Only 1 in 3 LGBTQ+ youth found their home to be LGBTQ-a...

Read More


DMARC Honors the Life of Harold Varce

Rev. Harold A. Varce, former Executive Director of the Des Moines Area Religious Council, passed away on June 8 at the age of 96. Varce served as DMARC’s Executive Director from June 1973 to December 1989. Under his leadership, DMARC established its Food Pantry Network (originally known as the Emergency Food Pantry), the Compassion in Action program, Hospice of Central Iowa, the January Thaw interfaith educational series, Life After Death of Spouse (LADOS), and numerous other programs and initiatives. DMARC also transitioned from an ecumenical organization to an ...

Read More


Making DMARC a More Equitable Organization

by Matt Unger, Chief Executive Officer At DMARC, one of the foundational pillars of our Food Pantry Network is equitable access to food. We believe that if you need food, you should be able to get the same kind of food, the same quality, and the same amount, no matter where you live in the metropolitan area. By fundraising throughout the metro and by being able to move food around the area, DMARC is able to ensure that people living in lower-income areas have the same access to good food as do people living in wealthier areas. But the murder of George Floyd last ...

Read More